No more waste!

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Understanding the French Law Against Waste and For a Circular Economy, its measures, and the solutions at hand to avoid any waste!

The 16th of October is the French National Food Waste Day. In France, 10 million tons of food – still consumable – are thrown away each year according to the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. At global scale, nearly a third of food production ends up in the bin!

On the French government’s website, it is written that “this waste represents unnecessary natural resource harvesting, such as farmland and water, and tons of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided”. And we agree! Let’s focus here on the definition of food waste, what the Law Against Waste and For a Circular Economy represents, and which simple everyday solutions you can try out to say no to waste. 🧐

What does “food waste” actually mean?

Food waste is “any food intended for human consumption that, at one point in the food chain, is lost, discarded, degraded” (National Pact Against Food Waste, 2013).

A French person produces an average of 20 kg of food waste per year – including 7 kg of products still in their packaging. In terms of emissions, this represents 15.3 million tons of CO2 per year, or 3 % of all national activity emissions (Ademe, 2016).

Faced with this sad observation, France has pledged through the Law Against Waste and For a Circular Economy to halve food waste by 2025 for the catering and distribution sectors, and by 2030 for the consumption, processing, production, and commercial catering sectors.

We are all both victims and responsible for waste. So, let’s take action!

Which measures are provided by the Law Against Waste and For a Circular Economy?

To fight against the scourge of food waste, the Law Against Waste and For a Circular Economy (AGEC in French) provides for several measures, including:

  • Setting a target to reduce food waste by 50 % by 2025 compared to 2015 levels.
  • Strengthening penalties against the disposal of unsold food with a fine that goes up to 0.1 % of the turnover of those responsible.
  • Expanding the obligation of signing a donation agreement with food aid associations to the wholesale trade.
  • Creating a national certification label “anti-food waste” to promote anti-waste initiatives.

And, last but not least:

  • Since the 12th of February 2020, off-license take-away drink sellers must offer a reduced rate for clients who come with a reusable recipient.
  • Since the 1st of July 2021, restaurants must accept containers from clients to sell food not consumed on the premises as take-away or as doggy bags (a notice sign must inform the consumer of the sanitary and food safety standards that must be respected).

In short, the main aim of this Law Against Waste and For a Circular Economy is to deeply transform our system, by publishing and applying the 130 articles that make it possible to fight against all the different types of waste.
Five main axes are covered: getting rid of disposable plastic, better informing the consumers, fighting against waste and for sustainable reuse, acting against planned obsolescence, producing better.
Legislating is a good start, acting is the logical next step. Say no to waste by adopting simple actions! We are going to explain everything here.



Here are some tips to reduce food waste at home:

  • Prepare your weekly menu in advance – lunch and dinner if possible – in order to do your shopping efficiently and buy only the ingredients you actually need.
  • Check your food’s expiry dates regularly. Careful, the “use-by date” isn’t the same as the “date of minimum durability”.
  • Favour bulk purchases to limit plastic packaging that goes straight into the bin.
  • Try tap water to avoid buying plastic bottles. Qwetch bottles fulfil this role wonderfully. 😉  You can also add a filter in your carafe or directly onto your faucet.
  • Set up a compost bin at home, this will reduce your waste bin by half! More and more councils are facilitating access to individual compost bins. Contact your local council to find out what is happening near you.
  • Learn how to cook with leftover meals and preparation waste: vegetable peelings can be grilled in the oven to make crisps, radish or turnip tops can turn into a delicious soup.
  • Optimise your fridge storage because better-preserved food means less waste. Also, clean your fridge as least once a month and de-ice it once a year, make sure you have set the right temperatures (+ 4°C for the fridge and -18°C for the freezer), respect the cold chain and the recommended temperature on food packaging.
  • Adopt the doggy-bag reflex when you are out and about! Ask to take home your leftover food at the restaurant to save it from ending up in the bin. Remember to bring your airtight meal box to avoid packaging waste. The new Qwetch Food Container is ideal!
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